Turfgrass Varieties

The term turfgrass refers to grasses that are tough enough to stand up to athletic pursuits, ranging from baseball to golf to soccer, but that also may be used for lawns or recreational areas such as parks. These grasses are generally somewhat drought-resistant and retain their color for all or most of the year. When selecting turfgrass, you must consider the climate in the planting region, because grasses thrive with different amounts of rainfall, sun and heat.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) is a perennial tropical and subtropical grass that is popular in southern states as lawn grass. Also used as turf grass, particularly on golf courses and sports fields, Bermuda grass has a fine blade and a rich green color. Bermuda grass is easily started from seed and may be established by seed in 60 to 90 days and can attain full coverage within a year. This grass is hardy, may be mowed to 1/2 inch and stands up well to heavy traffic.


Bluegrass (Poa) is a cool-region grass with a fine blade that is often used in the central and northern parts of the United States as a lawn grass and can handle a moderate amount of traffic. This grass may be used as a turfgrass for less damaging sports, such as croquet or a baseball outfield. Bluegrass is soft and is a rich green-blue in color. It may be started from seed and should establish within 60 days. Bluegrass has a shallow but tough root system that can stand up to periods of drought, but in general, this grass requires more water and fertilizer than other grasses.

Fescue Grass

Fescue grass (Festuca) is a cool-region lawn grass that is available in tall and fine varieties. Tall fescue (Festuca elatior) may be used as turfgrass and in pastures. It is a tough grass that can withstand drought conditions, heavy traffic and, unlike most grasses, is shade-tolerant. Fescue is often used in transition zones that may be too cool for Bermuda grasses or too warm for bluegrasses. This grass is best planted from seed and may be mowed to 2 to 3 inches.


Zoysia (Zoysia) grass is originally from southeast Asia and gained popularity in the United States in the 2000s as a hardy lawn and turfgrass. This deep-rooted grass has become a popular selection for golf courses but is also tough enough to use on soccer fields. Zoysia grass is best used in the central and southern United States, and it will go dormant in the cooler winter months in most areas. This grass, a deep green in color, is coarse and uncomfortable to the touch and grows so densely that weeds struggle to establish. Zoysia is difficult to start from seed and is most often planted as sod, sprigs or plugs.

Keywords: grass, turf grass, lawn grass, sports grass, Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass

About this Author

J.D.Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the U.S. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as writing about travel, health and other issues. Chi received her bachelor's degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward her master's in journalism.